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Locomotive    by Brian Floca order for
by Brian Floca
Order:  USA  Can
Atheneum, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

All aboard for this trip on the Transcontinental Railroad. It is the summer of 1869 and you'll start your journey in Omaha, Nebraska. You'll be in a coach pulled by a vintage steam engine and along the way you'll see how the engineer and the rest of the train crew handle their jobs.

After crossing the vast prairie where buffalo and Indians live, you'll pass through communities like Grand Island, Cheyenne, Fort Bridger and Ogden. Then after passing Promontory Summit where the golden spike connected the western and eastern divisions of the line, you'll chug out onto the flat and desolate Great Basin.

Awaiting you on the other side is the last great obstacle in your path, the Sierra Nevada mountain range. An extra engine or two will be needed to get over Donner Pass and you'll find snow sheds in the higher elevations to protect the train from the winter snow.

When you reach Sacramento you'll see other passengers leave the train and take various transportation to different cities in California. Beautifully illustrated with end covers that feature a large map and a diagram of how a steam engine works, this well designed picture book recaptures the trip west by train. Combining western history with early steam engine travel, Locomotive operates on a number of levels and is an excellent read.

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